Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited and redeemed his people.
He has sent us a mighty Savior
from the royal line of his servant David,
just as he promised
through his holy prophets long ago.
Now we will be saved from our enemies
and from all who hate us.
He has been merciful to our ancestors
by remembering his sacred covenant—
the covenant he swore with an oath
to our ancestor Abraham.
We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live. (Luke 1:67-75, NLT)
While youth ministry may at times earn us “enemies” amongst those we come in contact with, the greatest enemies are those that lie within us. While Luke is referring to those human enemies who set out to do battle against Israel, He also alludes to some of these inner enemies, saying that through Christ we have been rescued from fear, impurity and self righteousness.
These are enemies which must be overcome if we are to be effective in serving God and ministering to young people. Fear is the opposite of faith. It causes us to avoid those godly “risks” in which we put ourselves in places where we are totally dependent upon God. It stunts our ministry as well as our own personal growth.
Impurity builds a barrier between us and God and this sin barrier separates us from Him. It also leads to a crippling sense of guilt that convinces us that God could never use us. Thankfully the cross of Jesus removes that guilt and if we accept that by faith we can serve God in holiness – not our own, but His.
Similarly, our righteousness is sourced in Him. God takes the righteousness of Christ and places it upon us. Once we truly understand this we are set free from the enemy of self-righteousness. No longer are we tempted to look down on young people who make wrong choices. No longer are we tempted to compare ourselves with others and feel pride. All we are is because of who He is.
Reflections: What are the inner enemies you continually come up against in doing youth ministry? What causes you to fear and what are you afraid of? What do you feel unnecessary guilt over? How real is the temptation to become self righteous?